Sitting here with a fresh cup of coffee (Earth’s General Store Black and Tan) and with the birds chirping and clicking happily away I am going to make some soup here, the ingredients will be varied and I’ll just be throwing them in as they come to me and hope you like it.

I did make soup yesterday, it was a nice tomato based bean soup that was loaded with garlic and oregano and given a healthy dose of cilantro for good measure and it was enjoyed by all, the butterflies had seconds and thirds, I dropped some off for a friend, and there is still 3 litres set back in the freezer for another day.

Real Soup

I spent the holiday season in Portland with my wife which is something I have been doing for many years as she is still there in Oregon while we wait on Immigration Canada to finalize her Visa application, everything on this side of things has been done and this cannot come soon enough.

The outbound trip was very nice and I opted to drive to Kamloops and come south through the Coquihalla highway because of the winter storms raging across central Washington and aside from heavy snow in the pass it was an event free trip save for the interrogation and car tossing by the good folks at U.S. Customs.

I often find their questions and commentary to border on ridiculous like their thought that I was not carrying nearly enough luggage for a month in Portland (I could barely pick up my suitcase) and they wanted to know everything about my wife and why she and I lived in different countries. I told them we were working on that and then they wondered how I could afford to spend so much time in the U.S. not understanding what “forcibly retired” means.

We had a wonderful time over Christmas and the weeks went by all too quickly, with Donna working days I was left to my own devices and did take advantage of this to catch up on my rest as driving and travelling really beats me up.

For Christmas I improved Donna’s Peugeot which I brought to Portland so she could have a lighter bicycle to ride as she continues to recover from whooping cough. New wheels with a generator hub and light, new tyres, and a custom made rack I built should make this a very utilitarian machine that is a good 20 pounds lighter than her Townie.

UE18 Supersport

My wife has a really nice rack… 🙂

Custom rack

While I was in Portland my friend Shawn and I took in an underground bike swap that was sponsered by Ruckus Cycles and by underground I mean that it was held in a parking garage which is a good idea in the Pacific Northwet. The Sentra is a bike hauling machine and we also brough a bunch of odds and ends and ending up selling almost nothing and spending more ourselves.

My $1.00 car has been serving me well since I got it registered and insured in June and has logged over 15,000 km and made three trips to Portland and back, has crossed nearly every pass in the Alberta Rockies, and has been as far as the Oregon coast on several occasions. I replaced the spark plugs and fuel filter when I got to Portland and this was long overdue, what was a good running car became a great running car and my mileage over the trip averaged out at 34mpg. Considering that I usually blaze through Washington at 75 miles an hour and have to climb mountains and I think this is decent.

The first half of the drive home was uneventful save for a vibration that developed late in the day and when I pulled into Sandpoint Idaho for the night I knew I’d have to get things checked in the am, hoping I would not be delayed too much. Sure enough, one of my front tyres had developed a minor separation so I had to get that replaced before I could continue northward through Idaho and into B.C.and the guys at the Les Schwalbe at Bonner’s Ferry were awesome and had me in and out of the shop in 30 minutes.

Northern Idaho is a beautiful place and is quite desolate and peaceful and I would like to be able to spend more time here some day rather than drive through it. I did stop at at The Wild Horse Mercantile to top up the fuel before I crossed into Canada and when I walked in I was welcomed by the smell of a wood stove and this delightful pup who only wanted to play fetch with me. She brought me a cedar chip and set it on my lap while I was sitting and having a little lunch and think she could have played this all day.

The food was excellent and conversation with the owner (Beth) and a fellow from Texas (Monty) was really enjoyable and I will make sure top stop by on the next trip to have a little lunch and have a round of fetch as the dog belongs to the owners.

The final leg of the trip home can only be called brutal as after crossing the Crowsnest pass I found myself having to deal with high winds and blowing snow that caused near whiteout conditions and this kept up until I hit Calgary which was a absolute mess of black ice which seems to be a sign for Calgary drivers to go faster. I watched a pickup truck nearly flip in front of a semi which was ahead of me and to the left and narrowly missed putting the Sentra into the box of the truck. Cannot say how much I love those Nokian snow tyres and even with those, what was supposed to be a 7 hour trip took closer to 12.

I brought Donna’s Breezer home with me thinking it wasn’t fair that it gets to immigrate before she does, it really looked quite beautiful after being subjected to a few hours of the ice fog I ran into at Red Deer.

I have had a week to settle back in to life here in Edmonton and celebrated Christmas with my girls on Sunday (more on that later) and yesterday we were warmer than most of North America, today is going to be nearly as balmy

Looks like this coffee is done and some birds need some scritches… and then I have to get out to the shop to take care of a new patient this morning.